Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, who serves as a deputy whip in the House GOP leadership, told reporters that there is “no indication” that Donald Trump’s allegation that Barack Obama had his phones tapped during the presidential campaign is true. “It’s not a charge I would ever have made. And frankly, unless you can produce some pretty compelling proof, then I think … President Obama is owed an apology,” said Cole. “If (Obama) didn’t do it, we shouldn’t be reckless in accusations that he did.” Cole represents Oklahoma’s 4th District, which stretches from the southern Oklahoma City suburbs south to the Texas border. Trump carried the district by 38 points in November.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida is the first House Republican to publicly oppose the plan put forward by House Speaker Paul Ryan to repeal and replace Obamacare, which she said would leave too many of her constituents without insurance and reduce health care funding for the poor and elderly. She called on her colleagues to craft a bipartisan bill “that works for our community and our nation without hurting the elderly and disadvantaged among us.” Ros-Lehtinen is among six Southern Republicans representing a district carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton won the majority-Latino 27th District in Miami-Dade County by nearly 20 points.
In all, 11 Republicans, five Democrats and two independents qualified for the April 18 special election in Georgia’s 6th District, hoping to succeed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in the suburban Atlanta district. The GOP field includes former Secretary of State Karen Handel and two former state senators, Judson Hill and Dan Moody, as well as two candidates, Bob Gray and Bruce LeVell, who are aligning themselves with President Trump, who carried the district by a scant 1.5 points in November. Trump’s weak showing has given Democrats hope of a flip. The Democratic field includes former State Senator Ron Slotin and Jon Ossoff, a filmmaker and former congressional aide who has already raised more than $760,000 through a crowd-funding page. (Posted February 16)
Thirteen of the 40 Southern Democrats in the U.S. House have announced that they will not take part in January 20 inauguration of Donald Trump. Lawmakers from Florida, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia are among the no-shows. All of the boycotting members represent urban or black-majority districts that were carried by Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump’s tweets castigating U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, for announcing an inauguration boycott seemed to particularly rankle some of the members opting not to attend; his reaction was called “repugnant,” “ignorant,” and “insensitive and foolish.” (Posted January 18)
Republicans captured both U.S. House seats that were up in December 10 runoffs in Louisiana. In the 3rd District, Clay Higgins, a tough-talking former deputy sheriff and Internet celebrity dubbed the “Cajun John Wayne,” surprised Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, a veteran of the Louisiana political scene. In the 4th District, Republican State Rep. Mike Johnson of Bossier Parish defeated Marshall Jones, an attorney from Shreveport. With those wins, the GOP will hold five of Louisiana’s six U.S. House seats and 114 of the South’s 154 seats. (Posted December 11)
READ FULL STORY
Democrats made a slight, two-seat net gain in Southern Republican U.S. House seats in the November 8 election, taking down two Republican incumbents in Florida but coming up short in targeted GOP-held seats in Virginia and Texas. Republicans also picked up an open seat along Florida’s Treasure Coast and kept an open seat in Louisiana, where two Republicans will face each other in a December 10 runoff. Republicans still hold a commanding lead over Democrats in House seats in the South, 113 to 40, with another seat in Louisiana still to be determined. (Posted November 9)